Drug utilisation and self-medication in rural communities in Vietnam

Type Journal Article - Social Science & Medicine
Title Drug utilisation and self-medication in rural communities in Vietnam
Volume 54
Issue 12
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2002
Page numbers 1875-
URL http://econpapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:socmed:v:54:y:2002:i:12:p:1875-1886
Reportedly 40-60% of people in Vietnam depend on self-medication. To assess the current situation of self-medication practices as compared with medication given by health professionals in rural areas in Vietnam, we conducted a cross sectional survey at household level. A total of 505 women with at least one child younger than 5Â years of age were interviewed in their homes about their drug utilisation practices and attitudes toward medication, by using structured questionnaires. Of the 505 households, 138 stocked drugs for anticipated illness in the future. A total of 96 different antibiotics (in terms of generic type) were kept at 76 households. These antibiotics were kept mainly for coughs and diarrhoea. The self-medication group was twice as likely to use antibiotics than the other group. In addition, self-medication practice was increased when a mother kept medicines in the house. This study revealed that mistaken beliefs about medicines and undesirable attitudes toward medication were prevalent. Mothers used antibiotics as if such drugs were panaceas. In this context, there was insufficient public health education, no control over pharmaceutical promotion, and no efficient drug policy and regulation. More attention should be given to consumers and patients as the ultimate users of drugs so that they can access accurate information, assess the reliability of information and ask necessary questions.

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